Soon he finds himself living in a London most people would never have dreamed of: a city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels. It is a world that exists entirely in a subterranean labyrinth of sewer canals and abandoned subway stations. And it is the home of Door, the girl whom Richard rescued, and whom, if he is ever to return home, he must now help in her mission to preserve this strange underworld kingdom from a mysterious figure determined to destroy it.
If Tim Burton rewrote Phantom of the Opera, if Jack Finney had a dark side, if you rolled up the best of Clive Barker, Peter Straub, and Caleb Carr into one, you still wouldn't have Neil Gaiman. In Neverwhere, he delivers one of the most absorbing reads to come along in years.
©1996, 1997 Neil Gaiman; (P)2007 HarperCollins Publishers
"Gaiman's gift for mixing the absurd with the frightful gives this novel the feeling of a bedtime story with adult sophistication. Readers will find themselves as unable to escape this tale as the characters themselves." (Library Journal)
"[Gaiman] is, simply put, a treasure house of story, and we are lucky to have him in any media." (Stephen King)
This is one of the best audiobooks I've downloaded from Audible in my 7 years as a subscriber. Neil Gaiman really knocked this one out of the ballpark.
Unlike some other authors who read their own works, Gaiman could easily have made a career as an audiobook reader (not that he'd want to.) He compares favorably with my two other favorite readers, Jim Dale of the Harry Potter books, and Lisette Lecat, who reads the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency books. He's that good.
I also listened to the Anansi Boys, and wasn't all that crazy about it. This book, though, really captured and kept my attention. I liked all the characters, and was thoroughly entertained every minute of the way.
One thing that I especially appreciated was the remorse felt by the main character after losing one of his guides. In most books of this kind, the loss of a minor character is just shrugged off.
There was something touching about the reluctant and unassuming manner of the main character as he becomes the literal hero of the story.
I can't recommend this book strongly enough!
avid audiobook listener, sociopath, nerd.
Another fantastic journey lead by Neil Gaiman. It was dark and unexpected, and I loved every minute.
Audiobooks are a big part of my life.
I wouldn't call this great literature, but it is great entertainment. Neverwhere began as a British TV series -- the book is essentially a novelization -- and it does feel a little too episodic at times, with some characters not fully fleshed out (something the actors presumably did). Nevertheless, I was sucked into its world, much as the central character, Richard Mayhew, is hoovered into a fantastic underground (literally and figuratively) society. Credit that to Gaiman's gifts as both a writer and a narrator. He's that rare author who reads his own work quite well.
I love audiobooks. Reading has always been a struggle for me because of my poor eyesight. Audible changed my world and made my commutes a joy.
This book is fun, quirky, dark, fantastic and original. Mr. Gaiman is one of the best writers alive. His writing is so vivid and he makes it seem so easy. More importantly, he gets to narrate his own work and is able to precisely deliver how he wanted the book to be read. Neil Gaiman is not just a writer, he is a multimedia experience and the best way to immerse oneself in Neverwhere is to experience the audiobook version.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The mixture of fantasy with names and facts about London is enjoyable. The story keeps twisting and turning and keeping you guessing. The cynicism and humour gives it an added zip.
There is lots of contrast in characters and wonderful detail on some very extraordinary siutations.
This is a book that grabs you quickly and keeps your attention until the end.
I really enjoyed this book. As a matter of fact, the minute I finished, I started it over and listened to it again, just in case I missed anything the first time through. I got totally caught up in the fantasy world that was very credible. I think it is the hallmark of excellent fantasy to pull the reader into a willing suspension of disbelief, and Neverwhere certainly did that for me. This story was a vacation into another culture and land without ever leaving my own chair. Thanks for the trip!
I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!
Richard Mayhew has a life that most men would envy: He???s got a good job, a nice apartment in London, and he???s about to be married to a beautiful wealthy woman. But when he stops to help a girl (named Door) in the street, Richard soon finds that he???s slipped through the cracks into Neverwhere: a magical and frightening underground London that people like Richard never knew existed. How could he have known that his Random Act of Kindness would ruin everything? And, most importantly, how can he get his old life back?
Neil Gaiman rarely fails to amuse me with his creative concepts, quirky humor, and over-the-top villains, and Neverwhere, the novelization of his BBC television program of the same name, has all that. What it doesn???t have is a tight and gripping plot or exciting and well-developed heroes. Richard is an average guy who???s mostly along for the ride and Door and her monster-hunter bodyguard (named Hunter) aren???t too stimulating either. The best characters are the caricatured villains, Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar, ancient assassins who enjoy killing famous world leaders and biting the heads off kittens. This is totally and purposely overdone, and humorous because of it.
What makes Neverwhere worth reading is, without doubt, its wonderfully fantastical setting: an alternate London Underground. After visiting Neverwhere, you???ll never look at a London Tube Station map the same way again. Ever wonder how Earl???s Court Station got its name? Well, obviously, because a medieval lord holds court there. Who are the Blackfriars? And what about Islington at Angel Station? You???ll meet them all and discover what they???re up to in Neverwhere. I am not familiar with Underground London, but Neil Gaiman made me want to don a headlamp and begin exploring its closed off tunnels and tracks (???Mind the Gap!???). He could have done more with this setting, so I hope that someday he???ll write another novel in this world (a sequel has been rumored for years).
The other aspect of Neverwhere that I think is really well done is Richard???s confusion about what is real. Is he really in another world below London, or is he just going mad? It???s estimated that ??? to ?? of the homeless are schizophrenic and Gaiman captured their delusional behaviors so well, explaining them in the context of Neverwhere.
???Neil Himself??? narrated the audio version I listened to. He???s a good reader and his voice is always pleasant, but I think it???s a little too light and upbeat for some of the darker scenes in Neverwhere. Still, it???s nice to hear the author???s interpretation of his own work.
I like scifi and urban fantasy. I don't like romance novels. If you are the same my reviews should help.
This book is to urban fantasy what Lord of the Rings is to epic fantasy in my opinion. I defy you to read this one and not note at least a dozen ways other urban fantasy authors have lifted from Gaiman. This is a great fantasy world and an excellent read. The amazing thing is the author reads this one himself and does a great job. Usually, the author reading his own work is the kiss of death but Gaiman pulls it off. This one is definitely worth spending a credit.
I often don't quite connect with Neil Gaiman's books. I really want to like them, but when it's all said and done, I don't exactly like them. I absolutely enjoyed Neverwhere, a purely entertaining look at London Below, where lives that slip through the cracks end up. I found Richard endearing if not proactive and was entirely enchanted by Neil Gaiman's reading. I often say that authors should not read their own work unless it is biographical. Neil Gaiman is the exception. His reading brings the characters to life in subtle ways. Neil Gaiman being a wonderful reader of his own work is no fluke, either; I felt the same way about his reading of Stardust.
I listened to this while at work and it made me chuckle out loud at least 5 times in the first half hour. I kept having to tell curious coworkers what I was listening to. If Gaiman's dark charm can make me laugh during a stressful day, it must be good!
So far, this is the only book I've ever given a 5 star rating. Neil Gaiman's style enchants with his marvelously painted characters and vivid, always entertaining, plot. Few writers approach his skill for not only capturing the soul of his characters but also doing so with such exquisite dialogue that each phrase plays flawlessly. He is truly a master of the written word. This books is well worth the price!
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